Press Release by Michael Afromowitz
New York, NY… Two-time K-1 tournament champion, Alexey “The Scorpion” Ignashov, will attempt to become the next martial arts fight king of North America when he makes his debut in the United States during K-1 “Battle At Bellagio,” K-1’s eighth anniversary mega-card that will take place at Bellagio in Las Vegas Saturday, Aug. 12. The 28-year-old native of Belarus will be joined in the event’s eight-man, single-elimination contest by three-time Las Vegas K-1 tournament champion Michael “The Black Sniper” McDonald and 2003 K-1 USA champion, Carter Williams.
Tickets for K-1 “Battle at Bellagio,” priced at $300, $200, $100 and $50, go on sale Friday, June 30 at noon and will be available for purchase at Bellagio’s box office or by calling 888-488-7111.
In the midst of his sixth year as a K-1 super heavyweight competitor, Ignashov, who stands a towering 6’5″ and weighs 245 pounds, is recognized as one of the most potent forces in a sport known for consistently delivering knockouts in 80 percent of its bouts. His expertise in the art of Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing), notorious for its knee strikes and roundhouse leg kicks, has helped Ignashov make his long legs into his most threatening weapon.
During his career, Ignashov has met and defeated a handful of K-1’s all-time greats including superstar Mike Bernardo and three-time K-1 world champion Peter Aerts.
McDonald, who has been the man to beat for the majority of K-1’s lifespan in the U.S., is attempting to regain his dominant stature in the martial arts fight game after suffering a quarterfinal round defeat at the hands of the much lesser known Azem Maksutaj last August.
McDonald’s rise to power began in 2002 when he captured back-to-back tournament championships in Las Vegas. In April 2004, the Muay Thai stylist and resident of Canada claimed his third crown at Bellagio.
Aside from superb technical skills, McDonald brings to the ring one of the sport’s more unique looks that includes bleached blonde hair and gladiator-style trunks.
Williams’ return will come two and a half months after he made a spectacular run to the championship round of K-1’s “Mayhem At The Mirage II” tournament in Las Vegas. The stocky 26-year-old boxing and Muay Thai stylist, who also holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, earned a unanimous decision over rival Yusuke Fujimoto in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. He scored two knockdowns against Germany’s Chalid Arrab in the semifinals before advancing to the final bout by way of another decision. A leg injury he sustained during the three-round war with Arrab, however, forced Williams to withdraw from the tournament prior to the championship showdown.
Williams’ greatest showing to date in Las Vegas K-1 competition came during his tournament debut at The Mirage May 2, 2003. As an 18:1 underdog, the Modesto, Calif. resident defeated three consecutive opponents including McDonald and six-time world kickboxing champion, Rick “The Jet” Roufus, to capture the event’s tournament crown.
In addition to the card’s customary eight-man tournament, K-1 “Battle at Bellagio” will be highlighted by several “Superfights,” or single bouts featuring some of the sport’s brightest stars.
The Grand Ballroom at Bellagio will open for the event at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12. The first preliminary bout will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the tournament will commence at approximately 7 p.m.
The card will be televised in The United States on iN Demand Pay Per View and in Canada on Viewer’s Choice on Friday, August 18 at 10 PM Eastern Standard Time.
K-1 is a martial arts fighting sport that derives its name from its inclusion of a wide array of combat disciplines including Karate, Kung-Fu and Kickboxing (“K”), with an intent to determine one champion in one ring (“1”). After being staged for the first time in Japan in 1993 under the direction of founder Master Kazuyoshi Ishii, K-1 has evolved into the country’s most popular sport and has achieved popular culture status as its athletes are larger-than-life celebrities.